Last night I went to our friends’ annual Turkey Lurkey party… they’ve hosted it every year since we were college students, and I have to say that everyone has vastly improved their Thanksgiving cooking skills in leaps and bounds. We went from boxed stuffing to Butternut Squash and Goji Berry stuffing (Sounds strange, but it was fantastic!). It’s wonderful to have foodie friends.
I was in charge of a sweet potato dish this year, and I wrestled with recipe ideas for a few days as I have a love-hate relationship with this tuber. I love savory dishes with sweet potato, but can’t stand the cloyingly sweet ones that match the veggie with maple syrup or molasses. So usually I skip the sweet potatoes all together at the Thanksgiving table. I found Heidi’s recipe for her Sweet Potato Spoonbread in her cookbook (seriously people, I’ve linked to this book more times than I can count. If you don’t already own it, buy it). The recipe was time consuming, but mostly hands-off. Easy-peesy. And my kitchen smelled so good as the casserole baked in the oven. I was slightly wary as I set it down on the counter with the rest of the spread. But this dish was incredible. Caramelized shallots, browned butter, goat cheese… and of course the sweet potatoes. I went back for more about 15 minutes after I initially sat down, and it was totally and completely gone with the casserole dish scraped clean. Yum… It’s a good feeling when you leave a potluck with an empty dish or tray.
I’ve been madly rushing around prepping my house for Thursday’s guests. I’ve ordered my turkeys (two 14-pounders!), grocery shopped, cleaned, painted, cleaned, hung pictures, cleaned… In a few minutes I’m going to clean some more. Although I should probably be practicing, but I hope to do that later.
I think this whole lower back/sacrum/whatever thing is causing me some serious apprehension towards my practice. And I really can’t say for sure that practice is aggravating it. I could say “sporadic practice is aggravating.” But really, sporadic practice is aggravating in its very nature. Without regular practice, my body is not receptive to the subtle pose, my mind is not quiet, my breath is not natural… everything feels forced. Aggravated. Until I return to my daily practice, I won’t know how it truly effects my body.
Yesterday I was thinking about how I used to run almost daily. For years I just dealt with the sore knees, hips, strained tendons… And at some point I stopped. I realized I was stressing my body too much and decided that running just wasn’t for me anymore. I can’t imagine coming to that crossroad with my physical Ashtanga practice.
But then I read about Bindfry’s struggles and recent breakthrough and about (Ovo)’s journey and I see a light.
Practice and all is coming.
It is difficult to explain this “practice through the pain” thing to others outside the Ashtanga-sphere. This makes me feel a little crazed and cultish, like I just told them I’m convinced that I can communicate with God by eating my own toenail clippings or something. Last night one friend suggested I see a Chiropractor. I’d need to find a new one as my existing one told me that in order to fix my pelvic imbalance, I needed to stop practicing yoga. Not an option I was willing to entertain, so our sessions ended on that day. Chiropractic adjustments are expensive whereas self-practice adjustments are free, so I’d rather find the healing through my practice… if at all possible.
I’m excited to practice what I was taught on Friday, working the internal pose, using the breath and bandhas as a sort of healing tool. One of the things that I love and respect about my teacher is that he will share these nuances that he’s discovered with his students. And they are deep and philosophical, but practical and applicable as well. The topic is physical at surface-level, and then we delve deeper, past the physical, past the meta-physical and somatic and into the root, the inherent intelligence of self…
Plus he gives amazing assisted drop-backs. 🙂
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